"An unforeseen battle in the making of “Saving Mr. Banks” had to do with Thompson’s hair for the role. In real life, Travers had a simple bubble cut with frilly curls. The hairdo matched her steely personality, and was a crucial foothold into the character. But Thompson is wig averse: “I think a lot of energy comes off the top of your head when you’re acting,” she says, “and a wig really puts the lid on it.” So she visited a salon to get the Travers cut. “I went in willingly like the proverbial woolly lamb to the slaughter and I came out looking like a baby woolly mammoth,” Thompson says. She wasn’t expecting her hair to feel so tight after her perm. She tried to unspool the curls, even going as far as rubbing olive oil on her scalp, but it was no use.
Talk about curly ... the real P.L. Travers curly do blends right in with the foliage.
“I did everything I could,” Thompson says. “I rolled around. I pulled at it. I think the spirit of P.L. Travers was going, ‘If you’re going to play me, I’m going to make you suffer — you’re not going to have sex for months on end.’ ” Not wanting to be seen with Travers’ coif, Thompson spent much of her time on the Los Angeles shoot in a solitary space. One night in London, she met her pal, writer-director Richard Curtis (“Love Actually”), for dinner. She texted him with an advance warning: “Beware the hair.” She spent the rest of the evening teasing her husband, actor Greg Wise, about it. The gist of the joke, according to Curtis, was “they’d grow old happily together with her and the tight perm.”Maxxed out on hair talk? Watch this six minute edited interview where Thompson, without a word about the hair, talks about P.L. Travers, songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman (Travers HATED the music) and compares Tom Hanks to Walt Disney saying both men have an enduring charm, an 'everyman' quality and the power of an emperor ... Saving Mr. Banks opens December 20th here in the states.